Study Finds That Substance-Use Disorders Heighten Risk of SARS-CoV-2 Breakthrough Infections

October 18, 2021 08:35:33

A recently conducted study has found that while the risk of SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infection was low in vaccinated individuals with substance-use disorders, it was higher than the risk of vaccinated individuals who don’t suffer from substance use disorders. The research was conducted by researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse and was reported in “World Psychiatry.” Researchers from Case Western Reserve University also took part in the study.

The researchers also discovered that adverse socioeconomic determinants of health, which are common in individuals suffering from substance use disorder and health conditions that occurred simultaneously, were primarily responsible for the heightened risk of SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections. Individuals with substance-use disorders such as tobacco, opioid, cocaine, marijuana and alcohol, also had higher rates of serious outcomes following breakthrough infections, which sometimes led to hospitalization and death.

One of the lead authors of the study, Nora Volkow, who is also director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, stated that while vaccination was effective even for individuals with substance-use disorders, it was important to acknowledge that even after being vaccinated, members of this group had a higher risk of contracting the virus and should take protective measures against it.

Separate analyses that were carried out at the onset of the pandemic also discovered that individuals who suffered from substance-use disorders were more likely to have serious diseases that required hospitalization and sometimes resulted in death. This was especially true for African American individuals with substance-use disorders.

For their study, the researchers conducted an analysis of the electronic health records of more than 550,000 individuals who had been fully vaccinated in the United States between December 2020 and August 2021. This number includes individuals who suffer from substance-use disorders and those who do not.

The objective of the researchers was to look at the effectiveness of vaccines in individuals who had a higher risk of breakthrough infections, as most trials that test vaccine efficacies hadn’t included individuals with substance-use disorders. The researchers discovered that the risk of breakthrough infections was considerably higher in individuals suffering from substance-use disorders as mentioned above, noting that this risk varied among individuals with different substance-use disorders. For instance, the risk was almost 8% for those with marijuana-use disorder and about 6.7% for individuals with tobacco-use disorder.

Rong Xu, a professor from Case Western’s Center for Artificial Intelligence in Drug Discovery, notes that the study results highlight that while the vaccine is still both effective and essential, some risk factors still apply to breakthrough infections.

Existing research shows that substance-abuse disorders have a strong link to the workings of the mind, and companies such as Mind Cure Health Inc. (CSE: MCUR) (OTCQX: MCURF) are focused on developing psychedelic medicines that address such problems from the root to help patients.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Mind Cure Health Inc. (CSE: MCUR) (OTCQB: MCURF) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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